Life cycle impact assessment of metal production industries in Australia

Vladimir Strezov*, Xiaoteng Zhou, Tim J. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Metal production industries are associated with positive economic benefits, however their activities are significantly resource and energy intensive, contributing to emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases to the environment. The balance between the economic inputs and environmental footprint of the metal production industries determines their contribution to sustainability. This work provides environmental impact assessment of the production of aluminium, copper, gold, iron and steel, lead, nickel and zinc, and considers their contribution to the economy. The emissions of selected representative industries in Australia were sourced from public national emission inventories and used as input parameters in the openLCA software. ReCiPe midpoint and endpoint hierarchist impact assessment methods were used to investigate the environmental impacts of the selected industries. The results indicate that lead, followed by aluminium and nickel production had the largest environmental impacts. The work further revealed the specific emissions for better control for each industry taking into consideration their relative environmental and economic impacts. For instance, adoption of renewable energy sources would significantly decrease the greenhouse gas emissions and the associated environmental impacts of the copper, zinc, gold, and iron and steel production industries. Improvement of sustainability of the production of lead would require further control of trace metal emissions, while for aluminium and nickel production, improved control of emissions of particles and the acidic gases SO2 and NOx.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10116
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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